The booming economy apparently had a rather depressing effect on the auction of stalls for the Lunar New Year fairs around the city. Forty-three stalls garnered no interest at their reserve prices in Monday's auction. The auction, for the 168 stalls not bought in the first round held late last year, took place at the Lai Chi Kok government offices. Seventy of the stalls were for wet goods, 97 were for dry goods and one was a fast-food stall. By the close of bidding yesterday, 43 stalls - 18 wet-goods stalls, 25 for dry goods - in Cheung Sha Wan Playground, Fa Hui Park, Morse Park and Po Hong Park in Tseung Kwan O, remained unsold. Their reserve prices range from HK$610 to HK$4,260. People interested in taking any of the leftover stalls will have a chance to buy them this coming Monday on a first-come, first-served basis. There were fewer bidders at most of the auctions last year, with the number of bidders at five major auctions falling to 2,337 from 5,450 in 2006. The Victoria Park fair saw the largest drop in interest, with only 960 bidders, down from 3,600 in 2006. The five main fair venues are Victoria Park, Fa Hui Park, Morse Park, Kwun Tong Recreation Ground and Cheung Sha Wan Playground. One bidder last year said people were making too much money from the stock market to be bothered with the fairs. The remaining stalls will go on sale at 9.30am on Monday. Those interested in renting stalls at Cheung Sha Wan Playground, Fa Hui Park and Morse Park should go to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department offices in Mong Kok. Those interested in stalls in Tseung Kwan O should go to the Sai Kung Government Offices Building. Meanwhile, 'Orchid King' Yeung Siu-lung, executive director of Chiba Garden Limited, took 14 booths at Victoria Park where he plans to sell more than 30 breeds of orchids. 'This year we expect to sell 20,000 orchids, 5,000 more than last year.' Mr Yeung, who runs an orchid farm in Yuen Long, said he had to increase prices to HK$10 a stem to cover increased production costs. But he did not think the rise would affect his sales. 'Last weekend, many clients came to buy orchids,' he said. 'Some rich ladies even bought HK$10,000 of orchids as Lunar New Year gifts for their friends.' King of Chicken Cake chairman Leung Yui-hong will sell his popular Guangdong 'chicken cake' snacks. He said that while he expected more customers this year, he would not have greater profits. 'The ingredients cost 30 per cent more than last year, but we can't increase the selling price or there will be fewer customers,' he said.